Food - Drink
What Makes New Haven-Style Pizza So Unique?
By REECE ARMSTRONG
When you walk into a New Haven-style pizza shop, like Sally’s or Pepe’s, the first thing you’re likely to notice is the brick oven containing a roaring inferno. Out of that fire comes the regional food known as “apizza”, a unique style of pizza that is truly in a league of its own, and has origins at the beginning of the 20th century.
When a large influx of southern Italian immigrants came to New Haven, Connecticut, they brought along their signature “apizza”, pronounced “ah-beets.” Apizza is cooked quickly at extremely high temperatures in a coal-fired oven, which gives the thin crust its distinctive black char, similar to Neapolitan-style pizza.
Apizza is also known for its unique sauce and toppings. Originally, it was topped with nothing but a tart tomato sauce; while the tart sauce is still featured, most pies now come with cheese, but instead of the old stand-by, mozzarella, most apizza come with Pecorino Romano, a more salty, hard, and aromatic cheese.
Pecorino Romano pairs perfectly with apizza’s signature topping: clams. As a waterfront city, New Haven has a steady supply of fresh, cheap clams, making them a favorite topping for classic apizza that doesn't even use the traditional tomato sauce: a sauceless clam pie with garlic, herbs, and cheese.